The Exams Office, in partnership with Pearson, launched the Exams Manual in January 2022.
The manual is intended as a folder which will serve as a repository for key centre-specific, exams-related information to support centres in developing an effective contingency and succession plan, in the event of the absence or departure of their exams officer.
The Exams Manual is sent to member centres on a biennial basis. An additional copy was sent to member centres in September 2023, with another dispatch due to be sent in September 2025.
The purpose of the Exams Manual
The manual has been produced to encourage and support centres in maintaining an up-to-date library of key documents and support materials which will ensure:
- Compliance with JCQ regulations
- Preparation for centre inspections
- Effective contingency planning in the event of the absence of the exams officer
- Support for succession planning upon the appointment of a new exams officer, particularly if the person appointed has not previously undertaken the exams officer role
The development of the manual is in response to the findings in the 2021 Exams Officer Survey which revealed that in 37.8% of centres there is inadequate contingency planning if the exams officer was absent during a critical period such as the submission deadline for exam entries, during an exam series or before/on a results day.
This lack of risk management and mitigation is of significant concern as a lack of contingency planning is directly linked to an additional, longer term, issue – that of inadequate succession planning. The 2021 Survey revealed that 79% of centres have little/no succession planning in place to support a new exams officer.
The manual will help centres in providing support for new exams officers or those undertaking the role on a temporary basis and reduce the risk of maladministration and malpractice in the event of absence or departure of their exams officer.
What will centres receive?
During September 2023, all (UK) centres with an active membership to The Exams Office received a dispatch which included:
- An Exams Manual ring-bound folder
- A set of dividers to help exams officers in collating all the relevant information and resources for each exam series, and the key information which will enable an individual to assume responsibility for the management, administration and conducting of examinations and complete relevant exams-related tasks at any time during the academic year/exam cycle (see below for more information)
- A Checklist for senior leaders/line managers to ensure that senior leaders are providing effective support and supervision for their exams officer and that key tasks are completed to deadline within your centre
- A To-do pad to support exams officers in their planning
How should centres use the Exams Manual?
To get the most out of the manual, heads of centres and senior leaders should support their exams officer in creating and maintaining an up-to-date and accurate record of key exams-related documents and materials relevant to the centre split under the following sections:
- General information – e.g. key dates; awarding body contact details; MIS provider guides/information etc.
- Key documents – templates/forms, guides, checklists etc as used within your centre each academic term
- Compliance – records of inspection reports
- Policies – a repository for exams-related policies/procedures
- Invigilation – a record of training given to invigilators and copies of certificates
- Professional Development – a record of professional development activities undertaken/events attended by the exams officer/exams office staff
Exams officers should update the manual on a regular basis by including resources which are relevant to their centre from the key documents and support materials The Exams Office makes available to its members.
In September 2023, all current (UK) member centres of The Exams Office received an additional Exams Manual to store any further documents and support materials.
Additional copies (subject to availability) can be obtained free of charge by attending The Exams Office conferences or training events.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.